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The London Book Fair 2016

Posted by Marion Leigh on March 29, 2016 . 0 Comments

From 12 - 14 April, Olympia London will play host to more than 25,000 attendees representing 124 countries. The London Book Fair is the largest global marketplace for rights negotiation and a place where eye-popping deals are struck. This year’s slogan “Making Words Go Further” captures the essence of the wheeling and dealing that serves to bring books out of relative obscurity to huge audiences. 

It’s frenetic and addictive: a three-day marathon and an adrenaline high. I know because I was there in 2012 and 2013, pounding the floorboards of the Earls Court Exhibition Centre, then the venue for the celebrated event. Roaming therapists offer quickie shoulder massages and nothing is more welcome than the end-of-day cocktails offered by some of the big publishers.

Marion Leigh at The London Book Fair

LBF is where I first met reps from Matador Publishing, although I knew the company by reputation as one of the best self-publishing imprints in the UK. Recommended by Harry Bingham in the Writers’ and Artists’ Yearbook Guide to Getting Published, Matador will be at the Fair again this year offering advice to authors and displaying some of their new titles. The quality of Matador’s information sheets and of their marketing programmes is one of the things that set them apart.

Every year at the Fair, the rise of digital is a big topic of conversation, but printed books are holding their own. Recently, I conducted an unofficial survey of a family of four sunbathing at a local swimming pool: the wife and two teenage daughters were reading print books, while the husband was checking out the bathing beauties around the pool. Which goes to prove: women are the biggest readers and “Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose” – Nothing changes!